The Mercedes-Benz Citaro is a single-decker, rigid or articulated bus manufactured by Mercedes-Benz/EvoBus. Introduced in 1997, the Citaro is available in a range of configurations, and is in widespread use throughout Europe and parts of Asia, with more than 55,000 produced by December 2019.
The first generation Citaro was launched in 1997, as a successor to the Mercedes-Benz O405.
In 2005, an updated version of the Citaro to coincide with the introduction of Euro IV- (and later Euro V- and EEV-) compliant engines. Apart from minor technical alterations, mainly to accommodate the new generation of engines, the external design received a facelift to give the buses a less angular look, with internal panelling altered accordingly. Production of the old model ceased by autumn 2006.
In 2006 the Citaro received a much more substantial facelift, which can be seen from the outside by a revised front and rear design (analogous to the recently introduced low-entry buses). The hitherto characteristic feature of the first series, the "washboard trim" on the front of the vehicle, which was also available as a front advertising area and smooth surface without Mercedes star, accounted for a somewhat rounded front baffle. The lateral sweep of the front turn signals was reversed.
In May 2011, the second generation Citaro, referred to internally as the C2, was launched. From 2012, the C2 could also be equipped with Euro 6 engines. The C2 versions of the Citaro LE models were the last to be presented, at Busworld Kortrijk in October 2013.
There are three basic versions of the Citaro available in 2019: The standard 12m Citaro, the shorter 10m Citaro K and the articulated 18m Citaro G. Hybrid versions of all three lengths and one full electric version with standard and articulated versions are also available.
The standard urban model is available in a number of versions:
A series of suburban/interurban versions is also produced, with single front doors and all seats fitted on platforms:
Operators are able to choose between two different front stylings: the standard design features an angled destination display, like a roof dome, and is primarily marketed for urban buses, while a version with a one-piece windscreen covering the destination display also is available and is primarily intended for interurban use. However, all models are available with either version.
With the introduction of 2nd generation Citaro, the front destination display was slightly enlarged, which juts a bit out of the vehicle roof. As a result, Mercedes-Benz designed a small fairing at both sides of destination display. This fairing is available on all models by default. Later, after the introduction of Euro VI version, which results a complete structural change in engine compartment, also the rear destination display was enlarged and added with a fairing. However, afterwards, customers are also able to order a front display without fairing, whether urban or interurban versions.
Other customizations include the number and type of doors as well as the interior layout. Two types of seats are offered as part of the standard range, again with a basic model for urban use and an enhanced version for longer-distance routes, although both also are available on all models.
Aside from the usual diesel engines, the Citaro is also available with a powerful Euro VI natural gas engine M936G rated by 222 kW. It can be optionally combined with the new hybrid system of Mercedes-Benz, which helps to save more fuel and lower emissions.
As a one-off, German operators üstra of Hanover and LVB of Leipzig took delivery of a batch of Citaros bodied to a special design by James Irvine for Expo 2000. Leipzig's vehicles were lent to Hanover for the duration of the exhibition, but subsequently returned to normal service in their home city. All other Citaros bodied by Mercedes-Benz were to standard designs, however a number of chassis were bodied by independent manufacturers, most notably Hess of Switzerland. However, the Citaro has more recently only been sold as a complete product.
In 2007 the workshops of the Szeged (Hungary) bus operator SZKT converted a regular Citaro to a trolleybus. As of April 2010, five such buses are already serving as a trolley and more examples are in preparation in the near future.
In 2009, the Centre of Ambulance Services in Dubai took delivery of three Citaros, which had been modified to become the world's largest ambulances.
In 2010, the French city Rennes ordered a longer version of the Citaro, the Citaro M, which is 13 meters long with an urban arrangement. 15 vehicles were built over the chassis of the Setra S416NF.
Even though the usual Citaro models are powered by diesel or natural gas, there is also a hydrogen fuel cell-powered version, designated Citaro BZ or O530BZ (BZ stands for "Brennstoffzelle" in German, or "fuel cell" in English). During the combustion process, only water steam are produced, so the vehicle is very environmentally friendly. The hydrogen tanks are located in the roof, which results an increased vehicle height at 3.68 m (12 ft 1 in). These buses have 3 doors, low floor configurations, and are capable for a top speed of 70 km/h (43 mph). About 35 of these buses have been in service in a variety of different world cities in order to test the feasibility of hydrogen fuel cells in numerous countries or continents (including UK, Australia and China), different operating circumstances and different conditions, especially weather conditions.
The Mercedes-Benz Citaro G BlueTec Hybrid is a series-hybrid articulated bus with a compact 450 kg, 4-cylinder, 4.8-litre, 160 kW, Euro 4 OM-924LA diesel engine providing power for a roof-mounted 19.4 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, and four 80 kW electric wheel hub motors located on the centre and rear axles. (Contrast a conventional bus diesel engine: 6-cylinder, 12-litre, 1,000 kg.) The battery pack is also charged by regenerative braking (recuperation). The manufacturer anticipates fuel consumption 20% lower than conventional diesel Citaros. In 2010, selected bendy buses were delivered in hybrid version to Wuppertal, Stuttgart, Krefeld, Hamburg and Mülheim. Other buses were also delivered to Essen, Duisburg, Munich, Mainz, Hamburg and Rostock are also in the rigid versions. The Dresden and Leipzig also delivered their Citaro hybrid buses in 2011.
Eventually, Daimler decided to not to upgrade BlueTec Hybrid variants to second generation of Citaro. Instead, in 2017, they launched Citaro Hybrid variants of Citaro (diesel) and NGT, which uses mild hybrid drive, much cheaper to manufacture than BlueTec Hybrid drive. It uses 14 kW, disc-shaped electric motor mounted between combustion engine and transmission for energy recuperation and can provide a torque of up to 220 Nm.
Since 2015, Aachen Transport runs a battery-powered Citaro articulated bus as a test in scheduled operation. The vehicle was converted in 2014 from a hybrid bus to a battery bus. They removed all diesel components and installed 1300 traction batteries with a total capacity of approximately 180 kWh. The axle loads remained unchanged. The vehicle has four wheel hub motors with 60 kW continuous power on the second and third axle and has a range of more than 50 kilometres (30 mi). The conversion was carried out as part of the EU project Civitas (Cleaner and better transport in cities) and was funded by the Aachen Transport Association to 75 percent. The costs for the hardware (e.g. batteries) amounted to approximately 700,000 euros.
Mercedes-Benz tested prototypes of the Citaro with full electric drive. The bus features a modular battery pack design and use the same electric wheel hub motors as the Citaro G BlueTec Hybrid. It was launched at the IAA Commercial Vehicles show in Hanover in September 2018 as eCitaro. It uses modified bodywork of standard Citaro with front adopted from Daimler's concept Future Bus. It was first launched as 12 m solo bus. Later, an articulated 18 m version of eCitaro (also known as eCitaro G) was added to offer.
On 15 November 2018, the first series of eCitaro was delivered to its first customer: Hochbahn AG, a public transport company in Hamburg, with a total of 20 at last. In year 2019, more customers started operating eCitaros, including Rhein-Neckar-Verkehr GmbH (RNV), Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG), Zugerland Verkehrsbetriebe (ZVB), and Bus Ostschweiz (BOS). This was also followed with orders from Verkehrsbetriebe Hamburg-Holstein (VHH) with 16 buses, ESWE Verkehrsgesellschaft mbH from Wiesbaden with 56, and ÜSTRA from Hannover with 48. Mercedes-Benz also received orders from foreign countries, which contains Luxembourg, Norway, and Sweden. In addition, the eCitaro has been crowned to City Bus of the Year 2019 in Spain on 11 February 2019. In 2021, the national bus operator of Hungary, Volánbusz ordered 40 eCitaros.
In 2023, a version with a Toyota hydrogen fuel cell range extender will be offered.
Because EvoBus itself does not offer trolleybuses, the transport companies of the Hungarian city of Szeged independently built six second-hand Citaro solo vehicles into trolleybuses between 2006 and 2010. This is expected to save on spare parts inventory - this can be done together with the same diesel buses of the dispenser series - as well as lower acquisition costs compared to standard production trolleybuses. The modified type designation is O-530 Tr12, the six wagons bear the operating numbers T-860 to T-865.
In 2012, two Citaro trolleybuses also went into operation in Polish Gdynia. The cars with the numbers 3053 and 3054 originated from used acquired diesel buses from Berlin, which had been delivered in 2002.
Mercedes-Benz CapaCity (also known as O530 GL) is a large-capacity articulated bus based on Citaro G, which was introduced in year 2007. The 1st generation CapaCity is 19.54m long and can carry up to 186 passengers. It features exactly the same turning circle as that of its shorter related Citaro G (17.94m length) thanks actively steered electro hydraulic fourth axle. The safety is guaranteed by Electronic Braking System (EBS), anti-lock brakes (ABS), acceleration skid control (ASR), and the passenger comfort is improved by independent front suspensions. It is both available with 3 and 4 doors. There are also CapaCitys with BRT-Design, which can be recognized by their changed exterior. These buses are currently in service in Istanbul, Turkey, and Bratislava, Slovakia.
The 2nd generation CapaCity was first presented in year 2014. However, it is the long version "CapaCity L" (21m) which became available at the beginning. The shorter version "CapaCity" with a length of 19.7m was added later. They are all based on the modular system of Mercedes-Benz Citaro. The new feature "Articulation Turntable Controller" (ATC) prevents additionally from jackknifing. CapaCity L can carry 191 passengers with standard equipment, CapaCity 182 passengers. They are offered with four doors by default, but with "Metro Package", CapaCity L is also available with five doors, which is better constructed for BRT services. According to Daimler, CapaCity L is the diesel powered urban bus which uses the least fuel per passenger space.
In year 2007, the 2nd generation Conecto was presented and is both available as standard 12m and articulated 18m version. They are however only available with 3 doors (solo version) and 4 doors (articulated version). Unlike its predecessor as an independent model series (a step-entrance bus derived from O405, model designation O345), it is a technically simplified version of Citaro or Citaro G, with low floor configuration and vertical engines. It is recognizable with the changed exterior design and small differences in interior's design in opposition to Citaro and is mainly sold in eastern Europe, the Middle East and west Asia. The 3rd generation is, since 2018, also sold in Italy (when low-floor Conecto was never officially sold before).
Like previous step-entrance Conecto models, the low-floor Conecto is also produced at Mercedes-Benz Türk factory in Istanbul, Turkey.
In September 2016, the 3rd generation Conecto was presented in Warsaw, Poland. Several improvements were done for the new Conecto, as well as driving safety, passenger comfort, handling and Euro 6 engines, while the operation costs still stay low. Examples for high standard of safety are Electronic Stability Program (ESP) on solo versions and Articulation Turntable Controller (ATC) on articulated versions. Conecto and Conecto G NGT powered by natural gas are also available for the first time. Like the 2nd generation, the 3rd generation Conecto is solely available with 3 doors (solo version) and 4 doors (articulated version). In 3rd generation Conecto, only Euro VI-compliant engines are available (OM936 in 12 m, OM470 in 18 m and M936G in gas versions); the 2nd generation Conecto, with Euro V-compliant engines (OM926LA in 12 m and OM457LA in 18 m models), continues to be marketed in certain non-EU developing markets in eastern Europe, the Middle East and west Asia, alongside the 3rd generation Conecto.
The Citaro is currently built in factories in Mannheim, Germany, and Ligny-en-Barrois, France. It was also built in Sámano in Spain.
The low-cost-variant Conecto is produced by Mercedes-Benz Türk A.Ş. in Hoşdere, Başakşehir, Istanbul, Turkey.
In May 2018, the Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG) placed an order for a total of 950 new Citaros: 350 Citaros and 600 Citaro Gs, the first of which was delivered on 20 November 2018. Their engines all meet the Euro VI standard, have low fuel consumption and lower emissions. The BVG also placed a second order for 15 eCitaro, which were delivered in the first quarter of 2019.
The Mercedes-Benz Citaro is also widely used in the rest of Germany. The Hamburger Hochbahn has operated the Citaro since 1997 and has over time, ordered over 1000 in total. DB Stadtverkehr GmbH, a subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn, operates a large number of Citaro or rather Citaro G. They are used in scheduled urban and interurban services in numerous federal states and cities, e.g. Aachen, Düsseldorf, München, Münster, and Stuttgart.
In 2008 to 2013 Bratislava ordered 41 large buses of type Mercedes-Benz CapaCity to replace buses of types Ikarus 435 and Diesel buses Karosa B741. The first bus entered into service in December 2008 on route 96 with evidence number 1999. In 2010 ordered in total 25 buses and in 2012 ordered 15 buses. Bratislava also ordered 1 Citaro CNG with number 2020. Citaro CNG entered to service in November 2009 To February 2018 and today bus Citaro CNG is sold to private owner.
In 2002 Nitra ordered 1 Citaro only for route 28. Original transparents are being replaced in summer 2013 with R&G Mielec.
Public transport in Poprad operates 12 buses of versions K (delivered in 1/22) 4pcs, O 530 2pcs, C2 6pcs delivered in (2020)
In 2022 Blaguss Slovakia purchased 5 buses from Wiener Linien for public transport in Ružomberok.
In Hungary, VT-Arriva purchased 159 to operate services in Budapest for Budapesti Közlekedési Központ (BKK) in 2013, followed by two more units the year after.
Connexxion had ordered a total of 255 buses throughout 1998 and 2014. That 255 contains the order of the 75 buses in 2019. Besides that they placed another order of 33 Capacity L buses.
The RET, from Rotterdam, has made 2 orders in 2006 and 2008 for a total of 166 Citaro buses. In 2010 they made another small order of 2 hybrid Citaro articulated buses.
Syntus, in the eastern side of the Netherlands, placed two orders for 33 buses. 11 Citaro CNG single buses under the moniker "Gelderland" and 22 articulated CNG buses under the moniker "Veluwelijn".
In 2009, Qbuzz ordered 390 while Connexxion ordered 75. As of 2018 Connexxion under the R-Net moniker took delivery of several CapaCity L models. In 2014 Qbuzz ordered another 138 buses for Utrecht under the moniker "U-OV."
Between 2005 and 2009 Regia Autonomă de Transport București (now called STB) purchased 1,000 Citaros, 500 euro 3 first model and 500 euro 4 from the Mercedes-Benz Citaro facelift.
In September 2019, STB ordered 130 Citaro Hybrid buses with deliveries to begin in the spring of 2020.
In 2016, Empresa Municipal de Transportes de Madrid (EMT Madrid) ordered 82 natural gas versions of the Citaro, known as the Citaro NGT. The following year, it placed an order for a further 314 buses, and in 2018 it placed another order for a further 276 buses, for a total of 672 buses, all of which are due to enter service by 2020.
In 2000, Companhia de Carris de Ferro de Lisboa (CCFL) acquired 39 diesel variants of the Citaro, with 3 doors, ZF 5HP502 and OM457hla chassis and, later that year, Sociedade de Transportes Colectivos do Porto (STCP) bought 75 bodywork-based Citaros, with Salvador Caetano CityGold bodywork, OM906hla chassis and Voith D851.3 gearbox, the only series in the world with a 3-speed gearbox. Afterwards, Transportes Colectivos do Barreiro (TCB) and Serviços Municipalizados dos Transportes Urbanos de Coimbra (SMTUC) purchased (since 2001) this model, the case of the first one between the Euro 2, Euro 3, Euro 4 and the Facelift versions, and the second company just the Euro 2 and Euro 3 variants. Both companies also acquired used Citaros, with TCB purchasing four ex-De Lijn vehicles with Euro 3 and SMTUC with a 1997 ex-Hochbahn Citaro (previously owned by Linhares, and also the first used Citaro to Portugal), four ex-Nobina with 3-door and anti-fire system (one already out due to fire) and one with vertical engine, listed as a temporary bus. Besides the ex-Hochbahn Citaro in Linhares, Rodoviária de Lisboa purchased the Uberland variant of the Citaro, being the second vehicle as second hand purchase. In 2004, STCP tested three Citaro Fuel Cell models for two years, part of the CUTE project for the hydrogen tests through some European countries. Along with those, three Euro 3 Citaros were offered to the company to complement the Fuel Cell tests. One of the hydrogen buses is saved as part of a possible museum (this one has its engine removed) and two of the Citaros are still in circulation (one of them was burned down caused by the engine in December 2016). Since 2008, CCFL purchased the articulated variant of the Citaro Facelift (Citaro G) in two gearbox segments: Voith Diwa 5 and ZF EcoLife. These ones allowed to replace the older Volvo B10M articulated buses from 1991 through 1993 (20 at 2008 and 30 at 2010). In 2010, Empresa de Transportes Gondomarense bought five Citaro K (midi variant) for bus lines with small numbers of passengers. Since then, various Citaro models were second hand buses from Spain and Germany, mostly. In 2018, part of the PO-SEUR project from the Portuguese Government, CCFL acquired 40 Citaro C2G NGT (natural gas) buses to replace the 1995 and 1997 Volvo B10M articulated buses, along with 125 CaetanoBus bodied MAN 18.310 CNG. Besides these ones, Scotturb also acquired 1+20 Citaro C2K, 10 of them are hybrid, for the Circuito da Pena line. This is also from the time when second hand Citaro C2 are put in circulation, like in Rodoviária de Lisboa having 2013 C2 ex-Dr. Richard, from Vienna. In 2022, Área Metropolitana de Lisboa (AML) offered 633 Conectos, 157 Intouros and 50 Citaros (all with Euro 6 engines and Voith Diwa 6 gearbox).
In 2001, ATAC of Rome ordered 183 Citaro MU interurban model with a blue livery and two doors. This was followed by 301 Citaros urban and suburban model in the normal ATAC grey livery with 2 and 3 doors, in 2004. They operate on many routes, including 63, 88, 98, 443, 559, 775 and 881 and many lines around Ostia. ATAC have also introduced 100 new Citaro C2 Hybrid 12m buses entering service in June 2021.
Outside of the capital, ATM of Milan took a delivery of 112 Citaro G bendy buses (in late 2008). These are fleet numbered 2901-2984 (4 door model) and 1300-1327 (3 door model) and are mainly seen on routes 70, 73, 94 (2900-2984), 727 and 729 (1300-1327). This was followed by a batch of 2 Citaro G Hybrid in 2011 (2590 and 2591), only allocated to route 94, as well as 3 Citaro Hydrogen 12m in 2012 (2000 to 2002), allocated to route 84. More Citaros (C2 Hybrid 12m) are currently being delivered to Milan.
In 2008, ANM of Naples took delivery of 44 gas powered Citaro Facelift CNG 12m TPLITALIA.IT. These currently run on routes R2 and 151, but can often be seen on other routes operated from the Via delle Puglie depot (such as 601 and R5). Previously, some of these were branded for the ALIBUS route (Airport to City Centre) route until late 2018, when they got displaced by a new fleet of MenariniBus Citymood 10m buses. The buses were supplied by a regional order by Campania which included a total of 58 buses being ordered. The other 14 went to BusItalia of Salerno (at the time CSTP), fleet numbered CITA01-CITA14 TPLITALIA.IT. Once again by a regional order, a further 20 Citaro K C2 Euro 6 were delivered to Naples, fleet numbered N201 to N220.
Citaros are also operated in Venice (ACTV), Trieste (Trieste Trasporti), Cagliari (CTM and ARST) and Bologna (TPER), among other cities. Some of these companies also run Citaro U interurban buses.
Right-hand drive versions of the articulated Citaro G were introduced in London on 2 June 2002, on routes 507 and 521. They were eventually used on 12 routes across London, and were operated by various Transport for London operators including East London, First London, London Central, London General and Selkent.
In 2003 and 2004, four Citaro Gs caught fire, although there were no casualties involved. One was burnt on its delivery journey. Mercedes-Benz did address the problem, though the buses were withdrawn for some time which the saw the brief return of the just-retired AEC Routemasters. Unfortunately, the fires are said to have marred the reputation of articulated buses in the United Kingdom, and some people nicknaming them Chariots of Fire. The final Citaro G in London was withdrawn in December 2011. Eighty-one of Arriva London's examples were exported for use with Arriva Malta.
The first Citaros in London were 12 rigids introduced by First London on 27 April 2002 on route RV1. Others purchasers of rigids were London General for routes 507 and 521 in 2008, and Quality Line for routes X26 in 2011 and 413 in 2016.
Many of the former London Citaro Gs saw further service with various Arriva, FirstGroup, Go-Ahead Group, National Express and Stagecoach Group fleets outside of London.
In 2008, First York purchased 15 Citaro Gs for its York Park & Ride operation. In 2015 Blackpool Transport received 10 Citaros for use on Palladium branded routes. In 2015 Cardiff Bus received 20 Citaros.
The RATP Bus Network of Paris operates 426 Citaros of which 349 are standard, 12m length and the other 77 are 18m length bendy buses.
In year 2006, 3 hydrogen-fuelcell-powered Citaro buses began their test launch in Beijing, China. They ran on an 18.2 km (11.3 mi) long ring-line, which contains 11 stations and uses Summer Palace North Gate as departure/terminal station. The operating hours ranged from 9am to 3pm, the bus came approx. every 40 minutes. Each ride costs 2 CNY. During the launch, these 3 Citaro left a very positive impression to the passengers.
In 2010, Keisei Bus ordered 15 articulated Citaro G buses, primarily for service in east Tokyo.
Nishitetsu also operates several Citaro G buses on the Fukuoka BRT.
SMRT Buses trialed a Euro V demonstrator unit in 2010, which proved to be successful and an additional 10 buses were purchased with a follow up order of another 40.
In 2010, SBS Transit had made an initial purchase of 300 buses to replace all the remaining Volvo B10M Mark III, as well as a few Volvo B10M Mark IV (Duple Metsec and Walter Alexander Strider), Additional orders were being made to replace all Volvo B10Ms, with another order of 450 (increased to 474) in 2012 and a further 250 (increased to 330) in 2014.
By 2017, a grand total of 1,155 Citaro buses have been registered.
In 2022, SBS Transit had redeployed several MAN NL323F buses and Mercedes-Benz O530 Citaro buses to replace Scania K230UBs on cross-border bus routes, which are the last diesel single-deck buses to use in Singapore. Those allocated under the Bus Contracting Model were redeployed to SBS Transit.
In March 2020, SBS Transit introduced a Mercedes-Benz Citaro hybrid with C2 bodywork, registered as SG4004B as part of a 1-year trial and transition to sustainable transport. It was deployed on service 93 and 272, and had returned to Mercedes-Benz in 2021, which is due to the subsequent transition to the electric Citaro fleet in the future.
In Australia, between September 2004 and September 2007, Transperth trialled three hydrogen powered O530BZs. One was preserved by the Bus Preservation Society of Western Australia with the other two scrapped at the end of the trial. In 2016, Brisbane Transport trialled a Citaro demonstrator.
The Saudi Public Transport Company (SAPTCO), in a joint venture with RATP Group, placed an order for 200 Citaros and 400 Citaro Gs on 16 May 2017. These Citaros are specially adapted for use in the hot desert conditions of Saudi Arabia, with an uprated air conditioning system, circulating air blowers in the doors and double-glazed, darkened side windows. The first vehicles were due for delivery in 2018.
By 2009, 180 Citaros had been delivered to the city of Al Ain.
In 2008, the MTA of New York City trialled a Citaro G Facelift bendy bus.
In Latin America, Citaros are not present in large quantities in public transport systems.
Currently in Santiago, Chile, operates a single bus on line 104 of Red Metropolitana de Movilidad since 2020.
Mexico City has 14 Spanish-built Citaros for the BRT Internal System of UNAM.
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